ENTRIES may have dropped for this year's National Cool Climate Wine Show, but the quality of the wines has got the judges impressed.
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The wine show got under way at its new location, the Charles Sturt University (CSU) Rafter's Bar, on Tuesday, with the panel of expert judges working their way through tasting hundreds of wines.
By day two, it was clear that picking the best wines would be a tough task.
"The wines that I have seen so far are really good quality, of great standard," chief judge Russell Cody said.
"... The decrease in the amount of wines that have got faults is so much that it makes it harder to judge, because basically every wine is at least good in what it is."
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As of Wednesday morning, around 13 gold medals had been awarded to wines, which wine show chairman and chief steward Mark Haley was pleased to see.
"We've got some really good entries from various areas of Australia, all over, from Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, and NSW, so we've got a good variety of cool climate wines to judge, and I think the judges, based on the reports, are doing a fantastic job with them," he said.
By time the event concludes on Thursday, more than 400 wines will be have been judged.
It's a drop in the number of entries typically received, with the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic largely to blame.
"The entries have dropped a little bit for a few things, probably mainly due to COVID - there's been a few places that've shut down - and also due to 2020, for a lot of the reds, being the smoke tones," Mr Cody said.
The COVID period may have also contributed to the quality being seen, with Mr Cody saying that it gave vignerons an opportunity to taste other wines and possibly take some inspiration from them in developing their own wines.
The National Cool Climate Wine Show has a group of nine judges who are wine makers themselves.
Each judge will taste approximately half of the entries in the show.
Mr Cody said the judges are looking for wines that have a cool climate character to them.
"They're never going to be big, intense reds. They're always going to be more softer, more elegant-style wines," he said.
"We're looking for wines of drinkability - something you can have and say, 'That's a good drink' - and then you're looking for wines of class and that they show the variety of that actual wine. If it's a pinot noir, it needs to look like a pinot noir and it needs to have those flavours and be correct in that way.
"We're also looking for wines of showing that varietal character, but also showing that it can taste good now, but it can also live. That wine should be able to have that ability to be stored away for five years and then you open it up and say 'That's a lot better', or at least it's at the same level."
The judging is not only about determining which wines taste the best.
It is also to help improve wines into the future by providing feedback on what a great wine looks like.
"We're trying to make sure that people see that it's a gold medal there and then people go, 'Okay, that's a gold medal wine. We need to try and get as close to that as we can', so the industry as a whole keeps building and getting better, and better, and better," Mr Cody said.
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